Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Millennials In The New Millennium

Great Expectations Of The Millennial Generation
By Elis Estrada

The struggles of our generation have been reduced to 15-minute segments of news magazine investigations. If we are one of the most studied and intriguing generations, why are we being criticized more than praised for our achievements?

CBS’s 60 Minutes segments titled The Echo Boomers and The “Millennials” Are Coming concerning our generation, also broadly generalized as “Generation Y,” “Echo Boomers,” and “Millennials,” correctly recognize trends that characterize people born roughly between 1980 and 1995, but fail to achieve a diverse synthesis on the effects of such trends.

Is it our fault that a sweeping development of technological innovation during our time changed entirely the process by which society communicates and thrives? Absolutely not. We had to adapt to the evolution of television, cellular phones and computer technology that multinational corporations imposed upon us. As 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft deduces in "The Echo Boomers" in 2005, “They are multi-taskers with cell phones, music downloads, and Instant Messaging on the Internet. They are totally plugged-in citizens of a worldwide community.”

Both 60 Minutes reports accurately portrayed the damaging affects of mindless consumerism. In "The Echo Boomers" Steve Kroft mockingly questions, “What brands do they love? Sony, Patagonia, Gap, Gillette, Aveda…”

Emil Rivera, 21, a graphic design intern at Resource Magazine (a photo production publication catering to industry professionals) and recent immigrant from the Dominican Republic, explains the difference between the culture of advertising in America compared to his homeland: “If I wanted, I could ignore all advertisements back home because there are significantly less, but here, it’s everywhere!”

According to Kroft, Echo Boomers have their own stores, multimedia presentations to lure them into those stores, and their own television network, the CW. Brand conscious teens place emphasis on the materialistic aspects of their lives, blurring the line between what is important, and what is essentially worthless.

In “The Millennials Are Coming,” an unsuccessful and mocking evaluation of our effectiveness in the work place, correspondent Morley Safer asked Generation Y expert Mary Crane about the impression of the Millennials in America’s workforce: “They have climbed Mount Everest. They’ve been down to Machu Picchu to help excavate it. But they’ve never punched a time clock.”

This broad and generalized assumption, failing to recognize the diversity of our generation, angers even some self-critical Echo Boomers.

Sarah Roth, 25, an assistant editor at Resource Magazine explains, “I know of a lot of people in college who never had a job in school and they had the hardest time finding one after graduating.” Yet, she says, “We are an individualistic society and we want to lead the best life ever. The ability to learn (about) different cultures is so important and something our generation has and other generations never did.”

Sara Roth believes Generation Y has a unique ability to learn about other

We are in fact far more diverse and understanding of society. Steve Kroft states, “…thirty-five percent are non-white, and the most tolerant, believing everyone should be part of the community”.

Julie Nguyen, 19, a college sophomore and biology major at Marymount Manhattan College, says, “I’m in college and my mom still doesn’t want me to work. She would rather I concentrate fully on school instead of worrying about money. She believes that education is the best investment of my time.”

Re-examination of education and subsequent entry into the workforce changed the organization of corporate America, allowing motivated individuals to provide innovation and creativity in a 21st Century working environment. Generation Y has a voice and more options to express themselves than previous generations. Safer, the correspondent for “The Millennials Are Coming” segment interviewed Ryan Healy, founder of Brazen Careerist, an online community and career center for Generation Y.

An advisor to young people on how to deal with conventional work practices, Healy created a list of reasons as to why our generation is changing the workplace for the better, including finding real mentors to help with career development and holding only productive meetings.

Stefan Estrada, 26, a web designer for National Geographic’s online magazine says, “Before the company’s website merged with the magazine we were a small group of young people meeting only when we needed to. Now, we have meetings for no reason, and it’s a waste of time.”

We have been so heavily studied and interrogated for a reason—because we have the potential to make an incredible difference, just like our Baby Boomer parents.

The recent economic upheaval in the country’s financial sector, created by traditional corporate thinkers, has left our generation with looming and potentially harmful problems. Only with our generation’s ingenuity and innovation can we reinvent the aged concept of time clocks and business attire to begin a long era of progress and growth.

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